Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 39, 1877

White, W. C.; White, Mary

Healdsburg, California

November 27, 1877

Portions of this letter are published in 3Bio 76-77.

My dear Children, Willie and Mary:

My birthday is past without commemoration. Father and I went to Green Valley from Healdsburg, fourteen miles and back. The road part of the way was bad. We wandered out of the way some. We arrived at Brother Ross’s. They had nothing in the home to eat. I tended a babe, held it in one arm, and prepared my dinner myself. Made a little mush, cooked some eggs, and put on a few cold gems. This composed my dinner, birthday dinner, half a century old! Not much display in this. But then our birth does not amount to much. It is not of much consequence in regard to our birth—not half as much as in regard to our lives. How do we live? Our daily life will either honor or dishonor the day of our birth. The lives of many testify for them it were better if they had never been born. 3LtMs, Lt 39, 1877, par. 1

We held meeting in Petaluma last Sabbath. We had [an] excellent meeting. Father spoke about one hour as well as he ever spoke in his life. I then spoke about forty minutes with great freedom. There were thirty-five, and we also had a conference meeting and nearly all bore testimony. This meeting was highly prized by all present. It was an encouragement to them all. They thought it the best meeting they had ever had in Petaluma. Our visit was very pleasant at Brother Chapman’s. Her health is very poor. She did not sit up but little part of the time. But our visit seemed to cheer and strengthen her. We have a good home here at Brother Cook’s. They cook to suit us and try to make us comfortable. Father eats more liberally than he did. He has dispensed with slops, gruel, and so much pudding. He eats bread, gems, figs, cranberry sauce, oranges, tomatoes, no raw apples or raw fruit. 3LtMs, Lt 39, 1877, par. 2

There is a man by the name of Sims. He is doing a good work to prepare my way for talking on health reform. He is a radical health reformer. To have these important truths told them by one not of our faith will have an influence to remove the stigma from us as health reformers. I shall follow on temperance next Sunday. Dr. Sims has twenty-five cents for each as they come to hear. There is a good attendance. He goes to Santa Rosa next from here. 3LtMs, Lt 39, 1877, par. 3

Well, children, I have left Oakland because I dared not stay longer. I have had serious trouble of mind with my relations. I have decided the least I can have to do with them the better. Mary [Clough] and her mother, I have decided, have no conscience. My sister’s standard of the Christian life and character is such that I would consider it a misfortune to have her profess our faith unless there were an entire change of her general views of the Christian character. Mary and I have disconnected. I have not time to write particulars. I have no hope that Mary will ever embrace the truth. She has no sense that she needs a Saviour. She is whole—her heart untouched. 3LtMs, Lt 39, 1877, par. 4

Since writing the above we received an excellent letter from our daughter Mary. We were glad to hear from you all. We also received a good letter from Sister Mary Chase. I was glad to hear from her also. You may depend there is some reason why so many are sick at Battle Creek. But one thing I forbid—Mary Chinnock watches one night with any sick unless it be her own brother. She is one that cannot endure any such tax. She must take my restriction in this matter as positive. She shall neither take care of the sick nor watch with them. There are those who can do this. She cannot. Every room of the students with their habits of eating and of rest—all these things should be closely investigated. No one needs to have fevers if his habits are as they should be. To have even one sick is a reproach upon Battle Creek. To have more sick is reproach in accordance with the numbers. 3LtMs, Lt 39, 1877, par. 5

Dig out this evil; sweep the sleeping apartments; investigate outhouses; search the cellars and the premises; leave no stone unturned until this evil is ferreted out. See if proper hours are taken for rest; if proper food is provided, etc. Let a committee be appointed to investigate these matters thoroughly. I tell you there is no need of fevers if care is taken to regulate all our habits according to the laws of health. I hope that a stir will be made in this matter. Is there not decaying vegetation around the premises? Sickness ought not to exist, and I hope none will look on as calmly and unconcernedly as they did at the Health Institute when several [were] sick and some dying in their midst—improper eating, fruit between meals, at night, before retiring, eating too much without plenty of physical exercise. All these things should be strictly investigated. 3LtMs, Lt 39, 1877, par. 6

We have just been taking a ride to the redwoods. Father enjoyed drinking the cold stream from the mountain. It is today like a June day. The sun is shining beautifully. Father is trying to keep cool with a linen coat on, wandering about for the shady side of the house. [If] we can get us a little small place for a resort when we wish to run away, we shall do so. Mary and her mother, I expect, have moved to the Babcock cottage. Our premises will be clear once more, and I shall be grateful indeed. 3LtMs, Lt 39, 1877, par. 7

Appointments are out for us Sabbath and Sunday. I speak Sunday on temperance at the theatre. We have had a few gentle showers, enough to start vegetation. The hills are putting on their dress of green. I wish we could see you all. How is it? Do you suffer with cold any? I have mittens knit for the children. Will send them at once. Have the goods come from Brother Hutchins, Vt? He said he would send by express. Inquire at depot if it came by freight. I will write no more now. 3LtMs, Lt 39, 1877, par. 8